Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Give These Rock Stars Permission to Retire

One of my favorite pastimes  is to evaluate and compare the aging process of the rock stars of my youth to my own downward spiral into geezerhood.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Momisms: Logic? Denied.

Watching the social media posts of funny texts between parents and kids inspired this very true tale (Mom, I warned you that family members who don't read my blog are in my blog;  this is also why Tammie is NEVER in my blog...<3).

My grandfather, the kindest, sweetest soul that ever walked the planet was having a heck of a year, health-wise.  Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes sixty years earlier, at a time when kids frequently succumbed to the complications of the disease, his luck was starting to run out.   The diabetes had finally robbed him of his sight, but he took it in stride.  I never heard him complain.  His pastor helped him set up a ham radio to allow him to listen to the service and afterwards, he would call shut-ins and tell them what was going on in church and what the sermon was about.  Many did not know he was blind.  He was that kind of person;  he always thought of others first.

On this particular day, my grandfather had a mild stroke and was in a hospital in West Virginia.  At that time, it was about five hours drive time from my house.

Mom got on the phone and started calling everyone to tell them about the turn of events and give them information about grandfather's room, phone number and the hours when we could call.  I'd been working, so I didn't get the call till later in the day.  Mom relayed all the details, along with a list of relatives she had already contacted.

Then she commented:  "Believe it or not, his roommate is totally deaf.  If you call and someone answers and they don't respond to your voice, it might be the roommate."

"Why would the deaf roommate walk over to a ringing phone and answer it, Mom?"

There was a pause.  Then she screamed in the phone: "OH MY GOD, I TOLD EVERYBODY THAT SAME THING AND NO ONE QUESTIONED IT!  They must think I'm an idiot - get off the phone, get off the phone, I have to call them back!"

It was okay that she ended the call. I was laughing so hard that it brought on an asthma attack.  It was worth it.

Monday, April 28, 2014

People Watcher: Dogwood Arts Festival

Last Saturday was such a beautiful day in Knoxville!  Hubby and I decided to go downtown and check out the Dogwood Arts Festival.

For the uninformed, the Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville is music, entertainment, culinary arts, food trucks and a whole mess of artists showing off their wares.  All this converges on Market Square and Krutch Park in downtown Knox-Vegas. 

Meanwhile, in neighborhoods all over town, dogwood and flower aficionados roam the "dogwood trails" - painted pink blossoms on the road and sidestreets that lead you past some of the great gardens and front yards of Knoxvillians who actually spend time in their gardens and front yards (as opposed to desks and computers).  It turns out, Knoxville is covered with dogwoods and a significant portion of population have brag worthy green thumbs.

In the midst of all this, I am still a people watcher at heart.   Some minor observations about the festival folks:

  • Artists:  Wow.  Way too talented for the sidewalk;  seriously.  Knoxville should be a mecca for glass artists, all kidding aside.  Did I say "wow" already?  When I get rich (by playing the lottery I never play?  Let's do full-on fantasy mode!), I'm going to have walls covered with Knoxville artists' glass works.
  • Invisibility Cloak - Not Working:  If you were hungry, you were in the right place.  Food trucks and street vendors provided some delicious grub and tables were set up along Market Square to allow you to sit comfortably and eat. However, several patrons must have thought that they had a cloak of invisibility.  That's the only excuse I can come up with for shoving so much food in your mouth that you can't close it and churning it around like a front loading Maytag. No one would eat like that unless they thought they were invisible.  So, as a public service announcement, take heed:  Even though you have your own little folding chair...I can see you.  Everyone can.  Ew.
  • Beware of Humans:  Knoxvillians love the pooches, so please, everybody look down!  The poor doggles were risking life and limb at ground level because no one looks out for the little dogs.  I saw a near disaster when a small dog wrapped her leash around a stranger's ankles and we almost had a combination fall/strangulation on the Square.  Just look down.
  • Fun for the kids:  To the parents who were dragging tired screaming be fair, you and your child were both screaming...what a fun memory that will be.  Naps are your friend, Mama and Papa.
  • Fashion Parade: Saw a couple of young guys wearing kilts (although my first instinct, as a person of Scottish descent, is to ask if you are in fact, Scottish).  Hey, I'm totally down with that, unless you have one that it too short - which was the case with one laddie roaming the streets. I'll even apply the time honored rules of play for women in skirts (basically, all fashion is game if you look good in it). Gerard Butler or Bradley Cooper can wear whatever they like, for example.  But if you're trying to bring in the new mini-kilt look and you look more like Zach Galifianakis, rethink that look.  Think about the impressionable young children who are learning to dress themselves and role model.
  • Invisibility Cloak Still Not Working:  Lovely dressed woman, obviously patron of the arts, expensive clothes - finger buried in her nose up to the second joint.  Is that any way to treat a french manicure?
  • Nice to See You:   One of the great things about Knoxville is the smiling people.  As a person from the North, it is at times confusing, because it gives the person that air of familiarity when they smile and I have a moment of fear that I won't remember the person's name or where we met. For the record, I've been accused of actually knowing everyone, but it's just an urban legend.  I do love the smiles.
Okay, Knoxville...remember, Jazz on the Square and the Biscuit Festival are on their way.   See you then!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Electronics: Mommy Likey

Treated myself to a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 this past weekend, and it reminded me of two constants in my life. 

1) I'm sporadically electronically challenged and nothing says idiot better than a new piece of equipment that has to be figured out.  You might think there's not too much to figure out with a tablet, just touch the screen and you're off to Googleland. That's not how I roll. I have to try out every setting, wallpaper, security feature and customize everything on the whole darn tablet. So, for a few days I'll feel totally inadequate (chocolate fixes that).

Irrationally, I used to think that I was way ahead of the pack as far as computer literacy was concerned. This delusion started when one of the IT guys informed me that I was a super user, which meant zip to me. He explained that I actually used a significant number of the programs that were on my computer. Really? Notice how I blame someone else for my big head and techno ego trip. Actually, he was woefully misinformed;  I just wanted to keep my job.

2) My husband doesn't have this "desire of electronics" problem at all;  and he works with computers all day long.  In fact, he has let it slip that he has the nickname of The Amish IT Manager. For the clarification, that doesn't mean he expects horses and buggies to power the computers nor does it mean he wears all black and a nifty hat to work.  He just doesn't believe in upgrading when it's not necessary. The push to constantly by the latest thing or the most recent technological flavor of the month makes no sense to him.  And, boy, do you have to spell it out.

Really, he's company VP material. He thinks about the financial impact of decisions for the company. You want to believe that everyone in a businessthinks that way , but that's just not true. Most people look at the resources of the company and think "woo-hoo!" supplies and resources are free for the taking from the magic supply closet.  

Just think about this in another way:  Everyone sitting in an office gets a computer and loaded with programs. The company must purchase all those computers and pay the dude to keep them running. They'll have to have a server, and that comes with it's own headaches.  Every computer in the office requires a license for those programs. And yet, most of those users will use 1 or 2 of those programs. In my mind, there goes your raise, office worker. And that is exactly how hubby thinks; I get it.

Unfortunately, he brings this school of thought home. I think he's still pretty ticked off that we don't have a rotary dialed phone, and never saw the need to have more than one phone in the house. I know he hates that my son and I got smart phones. He reminds me every month how much that purchase impacted our budget.  He's one sentence short of extolling the virtue of tin-can-and-string communication systems.   He also will verbally list all our electronics at the drop of a hat, in case I missed that finely honed point (I'll skip that because I don't want to be of victim of any local burglars - so stay clear, guys, move on down the road!). 

Needless to say, we disagree. I don't have to have the latest and the greatest of electronics, but I do like to I think I'm in the 21st century.  If you see me purchasing them on the street from a guy in a trench coat, maybe this post will explain it.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Lie # 105: "No news is good news"

No news is good news?  I reject that.  Especially this morning.

First of all, there are only a few times when "no news" would be welcome.  Here's few scenarios that come to mind:
  • "I'll let you know when this building is going to collapse on your head."  (No news is good news).
  • "The list of departments we are closing at the plant will be posted." (No news is good news)
  • Early colonial duel:  "We will count to ten, turn, and fire our pistols at each other." (Perhaps this should be subtitled "no count is good news.")
Personally, this is never true for me...I'm a news junkie.  You know that newspaper that is on your porch every morning?  Delivered by that hardworking, early morning deliverin' paperboy/girl?  I'm the chick standing there looking out the window and waiting, somewhat patiently, for that paper.

This addiction started at a young age when I would listen to the news on the radio or watch hometown news (yay, WFMJ!  WKBN!  Channel 33!).  

Soon, I moved on to the hard stuff - printed news.  Our paper in dear old Austintown always came around four o'clock, and I accepted that as being the delivery time;  unchangable, like the alignment of the planets.  It was perfect for all the young people who delivered The Vindicator after school. Conveniently, it also meant I got to the paper before my Dad, another news junkie, and I was adept and putting it back together perfectly.  My Dad was also crotchety for minor things - like a wrinkled paper, or a paper with the sections in the wrong order. 

The Internet was like "free heroin for everyone!" with regard to the availability of news.  News stories are attached to everything.  When I open a browser - news.  Check email?  Headlines pop up. Sometimes, irritatingly so (one of the few blogs I wrote, then deleted, was about how many times I had to read that Peaches Geldof had passed away - I don't think Nelson Mandela got as much coverage).

Which brings us to today, and I am standing on the sidewalk in my bear feet waiting, waiting, waiting.  No newspaper.  This is when it really hits home:  I don't care how many ways you can deliver a story, I still want a printed newspaper.  And I know that if this paper is not coming, I'll not see today's news in print, so I'm hoping it's just late.  If I call, they'll just promise a credit.  I don't want a credit, I want news.

Dang it, no news is not good news, it is a lie - where is my paperwoman?  This is starting to impact the Christmas tip...  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Payback...It's Your Mother

Maternal experience will eventually lead to a few cringe moments.  Maybe it will come in the form of public embarrassment (I still fear show and tell...or maybe, just the "tell") or an interesting revelation from my children - spoken at a particular inconvenient time.  Okay, you already know that I have some experience with this.

With time, Moms tend to turn these memories into something acceptable or's a comforting form of selective amnesia.  Mortification turns to "Oh, that was so funny."

I have to confess something. There are times when I fantasize about how much fun it would be to turn the tables on my older sons and lay a dose of embarrassment on them, just for old times sake. Especially Juggernaut, because cool is the clay he works with on a regular basis.  He prides himself in saying things without fear of retribution;  we all just have to play along because that's how he is.  That hasn't always been, shall we say "comfortable."

In my fantasy, I visit him at work to show off a new tattoo.  Of course, I'd show all his co-workers first.  I'm thinking that a grocery list tattooed on my forearm would just scream mom-crazy.  Imagine his surprise when he leaves his office, only to see me explaining the benefits of my new tattoo to all his tattooed, urban rock god buddies:  "Just check off what you need at the store, and your list is always with you!  Isn't this fun?"

The alternate choice is a lower back (very much lower) tattoo of Lewis & Clark emblazoned with the words "Westward Expansion."  I'm not sure the rock gods would recover from that combination ode to history and middle aged spread, all rolled into one.

I'm not heartless.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

General Random Weird Observations (Oh, Stop - You Do It, Too)

The thought quagmire that is my stream of consciousness spewed forth this mess:

  •, the American international electronic commerce company, has had a hard time getting a mega share of the South American market.  Hey, whoa...Amazon.  Doesn't that sound like something custom made for South America?
  • The Cleveland Clinic posted a list of Fast Food Disasters: The 5 Worse Lunch Foods.   It reads like a grocery list of everything my son, Gonzo, wants for lunch:  Pizza, burgers, lunch meat, hot dogs and fried chicken.  (We're all gonna die.)
  • Everything that happens to me in the course of a week that is really, really funny has some component that makes it unsuitable for blogging.  Scary, huh?
  • I'm watching some kids who are participating in a Mock Trial this week.  It's an awesome activity, but I can't help but wonder why we don't have other "mock" activities.  Mock Mom would be good and enlightening;  Mock Surgery, Mock Janitor, Mock Detective, Mock Trust Fund Baby, Mock Overworked Teacher, Mock Union Rep, Mock Plumber...all of these would give important insight and help young people consider careers.  The possibilities taunt and torment me - it's like Mock Mocking.
  • The real reason kids can't vote till they are 18 is that they only vote for their friends.  I had an in-class competition for the best science notebook one year and the girl with the second highest number of votes didn't turn one in.  All the girls looked over each and every notebook meticulously - then they just voted for their friends.
  • I fear human germs.  I'll wash my hands, avoid using the restroom till I'm ill, carry sanitizer for my hands and question every single stain I see;  but I kiss my dog without hesitation.  The same goes for my goats and my donkey.  Rationally, I tell myself that they are probably covered with much higher levels of germy-ness.  Apparently, that part of my brain is damaged (but the part that fears human germs is working overtime, so I guess it balances out).
  • The local shelter has a No Spay Day.  That makes no sense.  Isn't the goal to make sure all pets are spayed?  Why not call it Breed? No Need day.
Some days, I just have to let it out.  Everyone have a great day!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Point of Easter: Missed It By a Hare

Like every Mom in town, you know I had to do my time in the candy aisle this week.  Why?  Because you are never too big for an Easter treat at my house.  Granted, I have slacked off a bit as the kids got older. To cover myself, I've made up rules about Easter baskets that I state with an air of authority to catch them off guard (this usually works!).  I've refrained from actually saying something misleading, like "didn't you know that?"

For starters, I've made the first rule which states that to actually get your candy in a basket (oh, heck, let's just say container, in case I decide to re-use gift bags) you must still live at home OR be a grandchild.  That doesn't leave the older guys out in the cold, they will still get a chocolate bunny, at minimum, although I'm thinking Magoo would prefer his bunny to be made of ham.

For some reason, I can't keep track of who likes jelly beans versus malted eggs.  Rule number two is "you have to work for the little stuff."  With the finesse of a stressed out Vegas dice player, I mix them all together and fling them in the basket (mama needs a new pair of shoes!). Remaining candy will get put in candy dishes for some high calorie sugar archaeology. A mini-challenge for the holiday!  Dig till you find what you like!

There should be a third rule, though I don't need this one at my house.  It came to me as I risked life and limb as I braved the crowded Easter aisles and watched an overwhelmed young Mom make Easter threats ("The Easter bunny doesn't like when you fight with your brother!").  She shook a giant chocolate bunny-behemoth for emphasis.  I wondered what message the kids derived from the exchange.

If I weren't Christian, I wouldn't celebrate Easter at all - not to honor an imaginary bunny, for sure. And if I ever threatened my children with the wrath of the Easter Bunny, I'm certain that Juggernaut would have have gone into full imaginary ninja mode and given me a complete game plan for the bunny's defeat.  He's like that.   Thankfully, that's not how we look at Easter.

I do celebrate Easter;  it's a biggie with Christians - the biggest of the biggies.  I'm willing to go out on a limb and say it is more important than Christmas.  We celebrate the whole holy week, and it has nothing to do with candy. The day of Easter starts with church in the morning; it's a day of worship and thanks. My children understand the story behind Easter and the reason behind the celebration.  We don't do it to please the Easter bunny.  Candy is part of the celebration, but everyone in  our house knows it's not the reason for Easter.

And so, my third rule would be that if you are going to celebrate - do it right:  it's not about the bunny.  If you think it's just about the bunny, don't bother.  You can get candy any day of the week, but if you don't know why we celebrate Easter, then you're just a hyperglycemic chocoholic on a Spring Sunday.

Special blog offer:  I'd love to tell you the Easter story any day of the week.

Spoiler alert, one more time:  It's not about the bunny.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Help, I've Accidentally Eaten My Dog!!

Well, sort of.   Okay, I confess: I did not in fact eat, lick or nibble my dog in any way.   It's not even on my "to-do" list, if I'm totally honest. Thus begins today's post.      
Let me explain.  I'll never understand the ins and outs of the Internet.  Yesterday, I posted a tale about the Cat Person that my husband used to be (until one cat rejected me, and one cat rejected the neighbors' practice of making our yard the cat bathroom).  While doing my usual link ups to various social media, one of those went absolutely bonkers and I got six times the readers I normally get. 

Hey, thanks, guys!  But I have to ask - what was so great about that one post that generated the big bump in readership?  

# 3 Son, Gonzo, and I have a theory that it was the disturbing coupling of the word "husband" and "kill." Apparently, in our view of the internet, wives troll various social media sites in search of ways to either kill their husbands OR gain voyeuristic pleasure from reading about how others did the dirty deed. Anyway, that became what we named "Theory Number One," subtitled "People are Freaky."

Then # 2 Son, Magoo, called to chat and I mentioned that Gonzo and I were just talking about the bump in numbers on the blog. He promptly proclaimed my utter lack of cat savvy.  He presented "Theory Number Two."  No subtitle;  let's not overdo it.

"People are cat nuts, Mom.  It's because you mentioned the dang cats."

Cat nuts?  Hey, I like cats, especially kittens.  How can you not like a kitten?  They're the cutest things ever and they make a weird "meep, meep" attempt at meowing that it just darling (say that out loud and overemphasize the word darling, in an oh-so-precious way, please).  It's the big guy who put the kibosh on cats at our house after he had two who leaked.  

We wondered aloud if the same devoted internet following surrounded dogs?  Now, I confess, I love dogs.  Every dog I ever had was like a kid to me and they all die of old age, with me wrapped around their, a, paws.  I AM dog nuts, I'm not gonna lie.  I'd have more than one right now if I could talk Mark into it (we used to have two).  I've come close to talking him into getting our poodle, Coco, a playmate.  Not for me (ahem) - for poor, lonely Coco.

The thought was still intriguing; my blog brain demanded satisfaction.  This requires an experiment.

So, if you clicked to see what possessed me to eat my dog;  my apologies.  She is still in one piece, with her poodle roast, steaks and giblets intact.  Gonzo and I will be watching the computer, trying to see if a crazy title was the key.  At least, I admit the ruse. Isn't that better than someone selling all your personal information in a quest to define all the whys of internet without your knowledge?  I just manhandled one little click.  And I thanked you.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Killed the Cat Person That Became My Husband

Divide the whole world into two parts - dog people and cat people.  At the time my husband and I were seriously dating, Mark was undeniably a cat person.   The proof was his two cats: Stumpy and Barefoot.

Stumpy was your run of the mill American Shorthair cat - grey tiger striped, with a bobbed tail that earned him his name.   Actually, if you felt his tail you would find that the bone had curled up.  It was weird.  Barefoot was Stumpy's brother.  He had white patches on his feet and a more than average amount of cat aloofness.

I irritated Barefoot by my mere presence in the world (stand in line, cat - stand in line).  Mark lived in a condo about seven or eight miles from my house, so we saw each other most days.  Occasionally, I'd go to his place.  Barefoot gave me the evil eye the whole time I was there.  He wanted to make sure I didn't stink up the place, I"ll wager. Cat radar was on alert.  Once, I used future hubby's pillow to lay down.   Later that night, after I left, future hubby went to bed.  As usual, the cats jumped on the bed, but this time, Barefoot decided that the pillow that smelled like me needed hosed down.   He had never done anything like that before;  and Mark's head was on the pillow at the time.

If I ever have access to a time machine, I do want to go back and see that moment.  Someone remind me, if I forget.  Mark is usually pretty patient and calm, but I'll bet you money those cats heard actual "language."

Barefoot was "re-homed" soon afterwards.  We married a few months later, and I wish I could have sent Barefoot an invite just to irritate him a little more.

Stumpy was around for many years afterwards till the neighbors decided our flower beds made the perfect cat box for their many unkempt idiot cats.  We tried everything to get them to stop, to no avail. The  potty mulch felines were the bane to Stumpy's existence;  he would go to the bay window and make demonic cat sounds. Then one day, he decided that the cats might not realize that was his area.   Remembering Barefoot's clever way of declaring geographical superiority,  he hosed the carpet in front of the window as he watched the nightly bathroom break of the idiot cats.

Stumpy was "re-homed" when he couldn't nip that new habit in the bud.  There are some deal breakers in my husband's play book.  Mark the cat person was dead.   He informed me briskly, "No more cats!"

"Hey, man - I'm a dog girl, " I responded and pointed to Ginger and Cleo, our two dogs that were more than willing to fill the void.

I've kept up my end of the bargain.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Caption this Picture! A Hump Day Challenge

This is your challenge for Wednesday,  April 16th!   

Last week, my neighbor got 6 heifers and placed them in her field, adjacent to mine.   My dog, Coco, is freaking out.   Not in a barky, annoying way - but in a mopey, why won't they include me in their party sort of way.   She begs to go out just to stand by the fence and look at the cows.

Give this picture a hilarious CAPTION!   Submit your caption in the comments section below.  I'll announce the winner on Friday after 6 p.m.  EST.

Closet comedians, this is your day!

[Also - Don't forget to visit Super Black and take advantage of the coupon code CHERDO for $2 off your order of some amazing, handmade nail lacquer!  Mother's Day is coming!]

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I've got a Socialpalooza

When I was young, I sorely wanted to be chosen for teams, games, parties, and even volunteer activities - I wanted to belong and be noticed. Group association - chime in, psychologists everywhere, back me up!  It was a time of anxiety.

Then I became a teenager - whoa, buddy!  Teens think that group association is critical to their identity (whether that is rational or not).  Nightmares included fears of being excluded.  I was a sucker for a musician - or a class clown.  Overall, it was a time of acne, big hair and drama.

As a young mother, I wanted to get out and do things with groups, too - with specifications.  Kids had to be included.   The Reader's Digest version of this is that if your kid and my kid clash...well, we're not going to be getting together much.  It was a time of maternal networking and budgeting.

As an older mother, with driving teens, it didn't matter what I wanted to do - if the kids are out running around, I'm by a phone till they get home.  And I always reminded my kids that you aren't late, in my mind - you're dead.  That is how my mama brain works.  If you miss curfew, it can't be due to your knuckleheaded irresponsibility...most certainly, you're trapped under a landslide, encountered a tornado, wrecked your car and you expired whispering the words, ""  I was fueled by mama guilt.  Not late;  injured or dead.  Those were the options.   It was a time of maternal fear and foreboding.

If you keep plugging away at social activities for 50+ years, you'll hit the place I'm in now, my own Socialpalooza.  This is the opposite of childhood social goals of inclusion.  I'm invited to everything, everyday.  Don't get me wrong - I love my friends!  I'm just overscheduled (it's my own fault).  I like to be busy, but it seems like a plant a seed of activity and it grows to a choking plant. Now, I pray for a rain check or a snow day; less guilt about non-participation.

In reality, I should be in the sweet spot of socializing, since all those factors have changed with time. 
  • I don't care if I'm chosen for activities.  To be honest, I usually whisper, "Sweet!" when I get passed by.  
  • I have more interests and things I want to do than there are hours in the day. 
  • Kid interactions don't matter that much;  the only kid left at home is sixteen years old and he pretty well gets along with everyone.  
  • YouTube is my musical friend and it knows about all the musicians I like - I just have to ask and up pops a video.  
  • Google will provide all the jokes I need, at the time I need them.
  • Even if I have concerns about my kids nowadays, we all have cellphones.  Thanks, technology. I prefer that to pharmacology to appease my mom freak-outs.

All I want to do is stay home.  Really, that's the ticket for me.  

I can't be pleased.  

[Don't forget to visit Super Black and take advantage of the coupon code CHERDO for $2 off your order of some amazing, handmade nail lacquer!]

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Coco Rules: Proof #1

Yow!  Vet just put Coco on "duck only" to control her allergies.  

What gives?  I'm on "Peking Duck once a year" if I'm lucky, and I actually bring money in to the house and use the bathroom in appropriate venues - and I do it alone!  No one has to accompany me.

Her haircut cost is twice what I pay, and more often.

I never worry about the parasite load of my own intestinal tract, nor do I notice fleas hopping a ride on me.

The person who lamented about a dog's life never met my dog. She is the center of the universe and I'm a downgraded Plutonian planetoid.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sick Day

For the last three days, some combination of cold-allergy-sinus mess has been creeping up on me. Determined to fight off the onset, I did every trick of the trade in my nursing brain, but today I submit to it's total dominion over my frumpy self.

Forget about fevers, I have my own special symptoms - here is how I know I'm sick:

  1. I don't care about things that I usually obsess over.
  2. I feel like I'm wearing a hat.  I check myself in the mirror.  Yep, just as I thought;  I'm not wearing a hat.  Something is going on in my cranium.  Go back to symptom #1.
  3. I have Cold Onset Attention Deficit Disorder Loop (COADDL).  It is an incredibly indecisive state.  Symptomatically, it looks something like this:  I need coffee, and that will make it all better. I walked in to the kitchen for coffee.  Then I looked at tea.  I wondered if we still have peppercorns (I don't know why), so I checked.  An empty spice container caught my eye;  that would be good for craft glitter.  I go to the laundry/studio (or laundrio, as I call it) to add it to my stash.  Who put this Biology book on the laundrio counter?  I notice dark socks in the basket of white clothes.  I decide to do a load of laundry.  I don't do a load of laundry.  Why do I have an empty spice container in my hand?  Oh, yeah, now I remember...I put it in the container stash.  My dog is staring at me.  I stare back and ponder what she might be thinking.  I need to sit down.  After one second in the recliner, I wonder why I don't have coffee.  I need coffee. I get up and walk into the kitchen for coffee...or tea (repeat this cycle till I land back at symptom #1).
  4. The calendar gets a clean sweep, so I can veg out.  Usually, it is hard to make me cancel anything. 
  5. Shower...stand there till the hot water turns cold.  I should get out.  Darn that symptom #1.
  6. Fashion smashion.  Looking for clothes that fit like a table cloth.
  7. Wondering if everyone really has to eat today, or can I talk them out of it.  If they have to catch something from me, I wish it would be symptom #1.
  8. Turned off my son's alarm clock and let him stay in bed.  He'll only want to talk to me.  It's merciful.
  9. Turn on television.  Flip through channels.  Turn off television.  Stare at it anyway.
  10. Type blog post.  At least I can say I did something.   I should proof it.  I should draw a cartoon. Stick figures will do.  Shazzbat, I'm back on symptom #1 again.  Just email me needed corrections.  Or not.
Everybody have a great day.  I need coffee.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Comedy Night! Come Join Us!

Vienna Coffee House in Maryville, TN Proudly Presents:

“Comics, Coffee & Chaos ”  
On Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

The stage at Vienna Coffee will come alive with local comics and their relatively 
“G” Rated Acts.  No Cover Charge: Just enjoy a coffee and snack.  

Scheduled for the Evening:

Brad Rasmussen, Josh Dudley, Elizabeth Large, 
and your host for the evening, 
Cheryl Massey (aka Cherdo on the Flipside), 

For directions visit:

Why Can't I Find the Perfect Perfume?

Years ago, my favorite perfume was discontinued and I've been searching for something new ever since.  It's a love-hate thing. In theory, I love perfume - not all perfume, obviously.  Many, many truly atrocious perfumes have been sampled in my quest for the next big scent.  Light, citrus scents are my favorite, especially lemon.  But each time I think I've found a replacement scent, it's hang time is about ten minutes total. After that, it might as well be water. 

Why is lemon so hard to master, perfume geniuses?  The ones I encounter are particularly dismal concoctions.  Most of the lemon scents I find smell industrial;  is it that big of a step to a nice, citrusy lemon cologne or perfume?  Consequently, I frequently take a good whiff of  my toilet bowl cleaner, seriously considering whether or not it would hurt my skin, if I am ever desperate enough to give it a whirl as a makeshift replacement.

Then there's the cost issue.  For comparison purposes, I always assume it will set me back by $100. Ouch, but a true and realistic ouch. An average bottle of the good stuff will run upwards of $100, or as I like to say:  $10 a good-stink-minute.  Practically speaking, I'm more interested in an appealing scent at the rate of about 13 cents a good-stink-minute.  I'd pay the $100 for a super stink that lasts twelve hours, in other words.

In spite of my disappointment thus far, I believe it is possible.  

Here's why:  Each time I walk through the department store cosmetics and perfume area, I smell like what ever stink they are pushing, even if I don't try it directly on my skin!  Are they using a special blend to entice you to purchase it?  That has to be it; that stuff clings to everything I am wearing like radioactive fallout - even if I don't actually try the perfume.  I'm talking hours and hours...something like a half of a cent per stink-minute.    If someone could figure out what is so special about those perfumes, my goal of finding the long range lemony citrus perfect perfume (at 13 cents or less per good-stink-minute, don't forget that part!) could be close at hand.

Science, don't fail me now.  You can do this!  It may just be some weird personal bio-chemistry, but does that mean I should go my whole life without perfume?  Find the chemical mix that will allow me to have my scent all day.  The only other hints I can provide, based on my observations, are these:

1)   Classic, well known scents - like Chanel No. 5 - never cling to shopping Cherdo.
2)   If a perfume or cologne was created to oblige the ego of a musician who bankrolled his or her own perfume line, it has more hang time on me but it is accompanied by true olfactory betrayal.   Britney, Taylor Swift, J. Lo...sorry, but "ew."
3)   Likewise, if the perfume has an embarrassing name, like Eau de Weird Al, I practically have to scrub it off.  
4)   If you actually are able to perfect the formula, as a personal favor, please avoid any "de toilette" name.  I'm already pretty skeptical and anything that sounds like toilet doesn't help at all.

Thank you, in advance, Science.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gary & Cherdo Go to the Psych Lab

If my calculations are correct, I've known Gary since we were freshman in high school and I'm fairly sure he can tell A FEW stories about me - but he doesn't! So, he must be a GOOD friend. I'm genuinely grateful for social media that allows me to connect to old pals. If he doesn't unfriend me from all of those sites, I'll consider this blog post viable.

One of my greatest life lessons occurred when I agreed to help my friend, Gary, with his college job. Gary was the person who taught me to always ask questions before you give an enthusiastic, "Yessirree, I'm your gal" type answer to any request. 

Gary was working in the Psych lab while attending classes at the university in our home town. One day, he asked if I would be willing to cover his job at the Psych lab while he was out of town. I'm not sure why he chose me; I'll say it was because I'm his friend and I love animals. Yeah, I'll go with that story. 

Off to the lab we went. Gary planned to give me an explanation of what needed done, with me knowing very little about what to expect. It turns out, a Psych lab is pretty cool. Animals used in behavioral studies populate this lab. So far, so good. The blackboard displayed an entertaining array of Psychology major graffiti, like: "My mother made me a homosexual" (Underneath, someone added, "If I get her the material, could she make me one, too?").   

All along a wall there were rows and rows of of gerbil cages that were like shoebox sized drawers. It seemed pretty interesting (I might actually be the right person for the job!). Gary proceeded to explain the basic feeding and watering and then the last step: checking for newborn baby gerbils.

Gerbils are fond of the big families. Apparently, Psych-folk have to keep really accurate records on the gerbil births to make sure they don't use related animals in the experiments. And now, I would have to do that, too. Carefully, Gary picked up a pink ball of wriggly gerbil flesh and proceeded to tell me it's gender. At that moment, I realized just how small gerbil "gender-parts" are...really, really small. I fear I projected naked gerbil shame on that poor little critter; I wondered if I could bring gerbil lounge pants and nighties to make us both more comfortable. Fortunately, it all gets easier after the first 50 or 60 drawers are checked. Gerbils are breeding fools.

Then we proceeded to the Rat Room. That's right, R A T. Injection time for the big boys and girls of the Psych lab. These things were huge with big, hairless, pink tails that whipped me like I had just led a failed pirate mutiny. Creepy is an understatement. In retrospect, I thought Gary had told me that we needed to give the injections in the tail. I can still see the movement of his lips in ultra-slow-mo recall as they formed the word "intraperitoneally."  

"Yessirree, I'm your gal!" No, I did not say that. Get a grip, peeps. When I came out of the catatonic stare I was giving Gary, I immediately started calculating...really, how good of a friend is Gary? Counting my close friends on my fingers, I wondered: Can he be replaced? Will he badmouth me to all the good people of Youngstown, Ohio? Will they believe it? Do I really care, at this point? If I run, am I close to a bus that will take me back to my neighborhood? If I have to, I could give up the car parked at the can buy a car anywhere...  

Darn it, why do I always follow through with a promise, that seems awfully overrated...

To wrap this tale up: yes, I helped inject the rats. And I did cover Gary's job while he was away. I willingly pried into the private business of the gerbils. Just once. Er, once per gerbil is more accurate, I suppose.

Perhaps this will help my younger friends understand why I ask for specifics before I volunteer.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Grumpy Cat vs Allergic Poodle

Take a look at these two animals; both beloved pets.  

On the left, you have the famous Grumpy Cat (aka Tardar Sauce).   The frumpy frowning feline internet cat-lebrity who celebrates her "Super Terrible 2" birthday party in NYC on April 29th.  

On the right, you have the Allergic Poodle (aka Coco Loco), who celebrated her fifth birthday on April 5th - we like to call that "Still Alive at 5".

So why is Allergic Poodle not as popular as Grumpy Cat?  Here are a few possible factors:
  • Grumpy Cat owes his special-ness to feline dwarfism and everyone celebrates the genetic crapshoot that caused it.  His owners must be so happy they could just explode!
  • Allergic Poodle owes her special ability of scratching incessantly to inbreeding (or historic over breeding - 'cause everybody loves the poodles, according to polls).  However, if the words "genetic weakness" are said to me just one more time, I could explode, too.
  • Pictures of Grumpy Cat populate the pet-obsessed internet;  insert the "cha-ching" sound here, please.  Grumpy Cat's owners (or managers, I should say, at this point) use his "special look" to earn money.
  • Allergic Poodle has a special look, too - she sits around the house waiting for the next rash to fully complete that look.  Is there a sound for spending cash?  Perhaps a flushing sound - as my money goes down the toilet?  So be it - insert that here.  Allergic Poodle's vet budget is constantly in the red.  You could say that Allergic Poodle's owners use her to rid their pockets of all that pesky money.
  • Grumpy Cat travels by plane with his owners to a variety of events - with a little financial help from the folks at Friskies cat food.
  • Allergic Poodle has her own devoted chauffeurs who spend a significant portion of their hard earned dollars driving her to the vet to see if this week's special look is fungal, bacterial or just wacko allergies.  
  • Grumpy Cat was named MSNBC's 2012 Most Influential Cat.
  • Allergic Poodle was named Dog Most Likely to Fund My Early Retirement by our vet - five years in a row.
  • Grumpy Cat's owners are very particular about where they take him, for his safety.
  • Allergic Poodle's owner is pretty rigid about her whereabouts since a disarmingly pleasant group of rainbow-loom bracelet adorned little girls dognapped her for a month.
It's probably for the best that Allergic Poodle doesn't get out and about - more exposure can only bring more allergies.  I've done the math and I can't afford for her to be more popular.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Genetic Crafter: A Warning

This was a actual fortune I plucked from a fortune cookie.  It made me ponder one of my deepest, darkest fears;  that one day, I will find myself crafting like my grandma.

My grandma was a great lady, don't get me wrong!  She was capable of doing many types of crafty sort of things for the home.  As a child, my sister and I would find scrap paper and bits of fabric and make things at her house.  She always had that kind of stuff laying around.  Kid heaven!

If I was drawing or doodling, she would sit with me and start to draw something, too.  It was always a pencil drawing of a lady who looked like Rosalind Russell.  But, it was a good sketch!  She just didn't have much in her kitchen table portfolio.  Sort of like Harper Lee - she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, and then zip!  Grandma apparently admired Rosalind Russell's style.   

Of course, since she was grandma, everyone got a craft when she was on a roll and she could churn out ridiculous numbers of the "item of the month."  In retrospect, I guess if you only have one sketch you like to draw, we all should be glad she never framed thirty Rosalinds for gifts.   

When I first moved out on my own, she called and asked me what my apartment looked like.  She wanted details and specific colors. Truthfully, my first apartment looked like an L-shaped closet.  It was an efficiency apartment, and in the bend of the L was a real closet and small bathroom. My furniture was your basic hand-me-down stuff, with the exception of a bentwood rocker I had received as a gift.  Because the couch was green, that was the predominant color;  you just couldn't get away from it.  Purple was added in the form of accent pieces and I hung a cheap reproduction of a picture by Japanese artist Ito Jakuchu.  The only thing that picture had in common with the style of the apartment was that I had silverware that had a bamboo design on the handle and I loved Japanese and Chinese food.  Far-fetched is the design of choice for low income students, FYI.

Later that week, I received a big package that had a beautiful crocheted afghan (does anyone still call it an afghan?  It's like a small blanket or throw).  She had included a note with the instruction that I should drape it over my rocker.  I loved it!  Calling to thank her, I'm sure she heard the genuine appreciation and enthusiasm I had for her crocheting skills.  The colors were perfect, but I would have never put those specific colors together.  There was a deep, eggplant purple and a lighter purple. The ugly green of my couch looked beautiful when she added it to the mix, and the last two colors were a light beige and off white.  She had made long stripes of color on the afghan, and I remember thinking, "Oh, she really does love me...she didn't make granny squares."

Then her creativity sparked what I like to call The Dark Ages of Crocheting.

My great-grandmother, Goldie, was called Nanny to distinguish which grandma we were talking about, since her crocheting daughter, Mary, was my other living grandma.  Visiting Nanny, I noted some new crafts in her bathroom.   Extra rolls of toilet paper were stored under the ample full hoop skirts of half of a Barbie-like doll.   Of course, you didn't notice the storage feature at first; that was what my grandma thought was so gosh darn clever, I'll wager.  You just wondered why a big skirted doll was sitting on the back of a 91 year old woman's toilet.  It had grandma-style written all over it.

OH LORD.  SHE'S GOING TO MAKE ONE OF THESE FOR ME.  Goosebumps began to form.  I knew her style;  grandma's mother got the first ones...then her youngest daughter, Diana...then my mother and my sisters.  You don't understand the grandma craft dynamic fully until you get one.   She expects all these wonderful gifts to be displayed.  Her own mother could not say no.  She knew the colors of my apartment and I had seen purple yarn in her bag.  Oh, the humanity. 

I had already survived the great tulle-covered-soap-that-looked-like-a-swan craft gifting by feigning ignorance and telling her I loved Sweetheart soap so much that I used it.  I'm sure that was a discussion around the lunch table at Navy Mothers:  "My granddaughter took that swan apart - can you believe it?"   Believe it.  There was no way I was putting that craft abomination in my cool but tiny apartment.

Sure enough, on my way to the car she made the big reveal:   Half Barbie with the color-coordinated skirt, Cherdo apartment style.  Knowing it was sitting on the backseat as I drove was more dangerous than an elevated blood alcohol.  I remember thinking that if I put the back windows down, and I purposefully rolled the car over the embankment, I could genuinely say that Half Barbie was flung out the window.  Grandma would have mercy and not hold it against me that I didn't have that epic craft abomination in my bathroom when she visited.   Nope;  she would make another one, I'm sure.  I was stuck.

My friends and I called her The Lady Charmin and mocked her for years.  New visitors were judged by their response to Lady Charmin when they went to the bathroom.  If I didn't hear a laugh from the bathroom the first time they saw it, then I was pretty sure that person didn't get the fact that it was ridiculous.  Maybe, they actually thought that was my style.  Friendship killer;  no more visits to the L for you.  

Now, I'm the grandma.  I love to craft, and I've done craft shows with my pal, Kelley.  As I cycle through all these craft paths to creativity, I remind myself that I may be making a craft version that someone else would see as the modern day version of The Lady Charmin.  I proceed with caution. There are many roads to creativity.   Some are soooo wrong.

I never give crafts.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Moon Over Akron

Before I tell this story, let me just say that my mom is a hoot.  She's not trying to be a hoot - on any level.  Her norm is a hoot.  There's a need for an investigative CAT scan in her future - a picture of that place somewhere deep in her brain, where a normal (ahem) person would process information. Forward that glossy right to the neurosurgeon, please.  Inquiring minds want to know what's up with Mom-brain.

My sisters and I can share a wealth of Momisms while contorting our faces into odd shapes that just scream, "Who does that?"

One such Momism occurred as we were returning from a trip to my grandmother's house.  Grandma's house was about five hours away and we had left late in the afternoon.  Something about the car always puts me to sleep.  If I'm not driving, I'm nodding off.  I've always been that way.   Laying back, with the car seat tilted all the way down, I had drifted off to sleep.

My mom doesn't do quiet well (genetic, I admit).  She's not loud; it's not about volume.  It's quantity. I have this vision in my mind of that evening.  She is smiling to herself and watching me sleep - instead of watching the road.  It haunts me (smirk).

We were somewhere near Akron, Ohio, when suddenly, my Mom grabs my shoulder and begins shaking it vigorously, shouting, "Get up! Get up! Hurry!"

What in the world? Was this the start of Carmageddon? The jolt sent my brain from dream mode to alarm in a millisecond and sent a major dose of adrenaline my way. I sat straight up without even raising the seat to see what was wrong.   She pointed furiously at something in front of the car.  I spun around and looked forward only to be blessed with a view of a station wagon full of boys with their bare bottoms hanging out the back of the open window.  It was mid-January in northeast Ohio.  It was definitely a blue moon sort of sighting.

"Those boys are mooning you!"  she declared.  She displayed all manner of mock horror at the insult to my person.  Thank you, for that.   And she had yelled "hurry!"   What was that about?  I know the geography of the  human bottom - it ain't that great, and it is not even a close second to a good nap.

So - really, Mom?  "What made you think they were specifically mooning me, when they couldn't even see me laying back in the seat and sleeping?" I asked.

She was quiet for a second.  Looking at me incredulously, she remarked:  "Why would someone moon me?"

Why indeed, Mom.  On the other hand, my mug was just made for mooning - or so the logic goes.
I'll keep that in mind.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cartoon Day!

Today's cartoon is dedicated to all Moms who have to sit back and watch their children "kiss a lot of frogs" or choose wildly inappropriate people to date or live in search of a personal train wreck of their very own.   (So thankful that this was just a phase and not a lifestyle...I often want to kiss my daughter-in-law for being so wonderful.  One more son to go...).

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lie # 104: Graffiti is ART

While getting dressed to meet up for lunch with my pal, J-Cray, and her lovely out-of-town guest, Jamieoria, I caught a bit of reporter Rita Braver's piece on graffiti as art on Sunday Morning.

I've seen some good looking graffiti in my day, so I will agree that some of the taggers are very artistic and have talent.  

It's the way they go about it that ruins it for me.  For example, Van Gogh's had a touch of notoriety for cutting off his own ear; it pretty well tainted his image as a serious artist for a time.  To me, when a modern day graffiti artist takes his or her bits of creativity and slaps it on someone else's property, they've tainted their art, too - most people wou;d consider that vandalism.  The focus will soon shift from any serious discussion of art to bail and restitution.  

Mayor Bloomberg, do you have my back?

In spite of the wealth of graffiti I've seen in the good old USA, it was European graffiti that really turned me against it.  

I'm a huge history nut, and I had the opportunity to go to Europe and see some of the historical sites that I had read about my whole life.  Viewing places such as the Vatican, the palace of Monaco, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Pompeii was an absolute thrill.  I'm nerdy like that.  

It was in Naples, Italy, that I first realized that everywhere I went had graffiti as high as an average person could reach.  Once that realization clicked in my head, I couldn't ignore it and I started to fume at the thought of castles, museums, beautiful cities and archaeological sites recklessly defaced so someone could make a rude comment about Giovanni's sister Carla.   Go knock on Carla's door and tell her, scaredy cat!  I hope Giovanni is home and in a foul mood.

It's not like the taggers didn't know it was wrong - one of the points they made in the televised report was that the graffiti "artists" had to do the tagging in the dark, pumped up with adrenaline from fear of being caught - they were ready to run at a moment's notice...and we all know why.  They mentioned that most of the time they used stolen paint as they were defacing someone else's property. Hmm.  I'm still thinking it's like a crime, dude.  I'll bet it's a crime even if your name looks really, really awesome with striped letters eight feet tall and stars shooting out from the bottom.

There's a logical compromise here.   Graffiti enthusiasts could tag all they want on paper...and actually purchase art supplies.   We could have that paper bound in a convenient spiral and call it a sketchbook.  No, really, I think we could make this happen.  I'm going to look into this new idea for these so called sketchbooks.

If you still think it is pure art, you're allowed to think that - this is a free country...unless you want to be free to NOT have your property defaced...'cause that's art.  In fact, I have a box of partially used spray paint cans that I would like to bring to YOUR house, so I can paint your car or garage.  Oh, I forgot to warn you that not all of the graffiti looks artsy;  some is just vulgar and a monument to bad spelling and tough break ups.  It's a crap shoot, but I can guarantee you some kind of graffiti.